Thursday, April 3, 2008

I Didn't Mean to Do It

But this afternoon I weeded my front border.

And bought corn gluten to use as an organic pre-emergent on my lawn.

And raked out my side yard and the front parking strip.

I only meant to take pictures of the bulbs and perennials that were emerging. But I noticed how the little tufts of grass were invading the border around the daylily blades and I thought, "I don't want that in the photo!"

So I got down on my hands and knees to see if they'd come out easily.

Oh, yes, the ground was soft enough I could pull out the grass and a lot of their stolons, too.

Oh, look what a mess I've made of my lawn! Pulled-up grass tufts with dirt hanging from their roots, lying in straggly piles at the far end of the border.

That reminded me: I'm going to have to get the corn gluten down onto the lawn soon if it's to do its work. The local radio organic gardening experts say to apply it when the forsythia is in bloom. I haven't seen any yet, but surely that will happen any minute. And oh, dear, I'd been out with the car earlier and should have bought some then.

What time was it? Oh, a little after 4:00. Agway closes around 5:00. I'd better run over before I forget.

Wait, first check my AutoCAD drawing of my property and do a take-off to see how much yard I need to cover. Okay, roughly 1,700 square feet.

Half hour or forty minutes later, I'm back home with a 50 pound bag of corn gluten. At five pounds for every 250 square feet, that'll cover 2,500, way more grass than I've got.

Never mind. I'm not messing with the little 5 pound bags with the pretty graphics on the plasticized wrapper that'd cost me nearly four times as much for the same amount. I'll take the paper bag and make sure I keep the leftovers where it's dry so I can use it next year, too.

So now I have my corn gluten pre-emergent, but I also still have pulled-up grass carcasses on my front lawn.

Go get the rake, and a basin (the bushel basket is full of fir branches that need chipping). See that the sideyard is covered with bird seed remnants under the bird feeder, and dead red fronds from the arborvitae that got attacked by spider mites last fall.

Better start back there and rake that up, too.

Get the basin filled up. Go empty it, into-- what? Not the compost pile-- don't want all that millet in it. Oh, into a paper leaf bag. Bring the leaf bag into the side yard. Proceed to rake out the side yard, both my strip and the neighbors'. Up come bird seed shells. Up come dead arborvitae fronds. Up come last fall's leaves and up come the wan flattened corpses of last summer's hostas.

All goes into the bag, along with the dry sticks and heads of one of the Autumn Joy sedums, whose new growth was peeking coyly through the mulch. (Other one was still too soft, and I drew the line at getting out the nippers).

Finally I work my way up to the front border and deal with the rest of the grass invading it. Some of it is stubborn-- go fetch the garden fork and the weed digger. Scrape, dig, and pull; scrape, dig, and pull. Go after some other, unidentified weeds while I'm at it. Note the early signs of chickweed in the border-- damn. It's too small to get ahold of; it'll have to wait.

Rake up the weeding mess in the grass. Rake up the leaves that have been lying there all winter. Note that the strip of grass between the public sidewalk and the street looks like hell-- smothered with matted gray leaves and littered with the cigarette butts that some boor has been leaving up and down our block of late.

Got the rake out here, right? So use it.

I do. Happily, it's street sweeping night tonight on my side of the street, so I just rake all the nasty stuff out into the gutter. And hope the borough crew actually comes.

A lot of Thursday nights they don't.

It looks like rain. Hurry up, get the paper bag-- full now-- under cover. Get the broom and sweep the sidewalk and the curb. Take in the broom, the rake, the fork, and the weed digger. Be astonished at myself because I actually did some work in my yard before I actually had to do it.

Now if I can be that insouciantly diligent when the forsythia bloom and it's time to spread that corn gluten, my lawn just may stand a chance this year.


Sandy said...

My hat's off to you! Good job using the corn gluten! I love that stuff!

Jennifer said...

I've never heard of corn gluten.. I'm going to hav eto look that up! I"m always out there on my hands and knees pulling weeds...

Sandy said...

Hi, Kate! I am inviting you to a book tag if you have the time. See my blog for details. Have a great day.